Pentecost–the birthday of the Church–is this Sunday. Though perhaps this feast day doesn’t get as much attention as Christmas and Easter, its celebration is pivotal for a couple of reasons:
- Pentecost celebrates the sending of the Holy Spirit upon the apostles for the purpose of sharing the good news of Jesus and baptizing the nations.
- Without Pentecost, all we are left with is stories about Jesus. However, with Pentecost, Jesus remains with the Church until the end of days; and those who are baptized by the Holy Spirit are empowered to share the Spirit’s gifts with others.
When we think about (or pray to) God, the Holy Spirit might not get as much attention as the Son and the Father.Unlike the Father and Son, it’s difficult to relate to the Spirit. What is it, anyway? In Scripture, we are given hints as to the Spirit’s purpose (e.g., counselor, advocate, helper, teacher, etc.).
The Spirit makes possible the gift of faith and the celebration of the Sacraments. The Spirit is a person but also a creative force. It is the Spirit that hovered over the waters of chaos in the Creation Story, bringing order and new life. It is the Spirit that transformed the apostles into evangelizers, and it is the Spirit who calls us to share in the gifts of God so that we may share them with others.
Perhaps one of the reasons why the celebration of Pentecost is a bit subdued is that we don’t know about or trust the gifts of the Holy Spirit. This Pentecost Sunday, say “Hello” to the Spirit. Ask the Spirit to reveal your gifts to you. Such gifts can be extraordinary, like healing or speaking in tongues. Others are more “ordinary” but can have extraordinary effects such as the gifts of counsel, wisdom, fortitude, etc.
Discerning your gifts takes time and patience. To learn more, visit the Siena Institute website, which provides information and discernment workshops, or check out Bishop Barron’s podcast on the gifts of the Holy Spirit. We are all called by the Spirit to share the good news of Christ in our own unique ways. Take the opportunity this Pentecost Sunday to begin discerning how God might be calling you to live more deeply, a life in the Spirit.